Reminder: Open enrollment period for Medicare changes starts SUNDAY!

10 October 2023- The Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA) today reminded older adults that the annual open enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries will begin October 15 and end December 7. Any new coverage selected or changes to existing benefits will take effect January 1, 2024. 

During open enrollment, new Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for Medicare Prescription Drug coverage and health plans to complement Medicare, and current Medicare beneficiaries can review and join, switch, or drop Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Coverage so that it better meets their needs. 

To help Medicare beneficiaries understand their options, the department offers free, objective health benefits counseling through Pennsylvania Medicare Education and Decision Insight (PA MEDI). Available at Pennsylvania’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), PA MEDI counselors can assist Medicare beneficiaries with plan comparisons, help with enrollment in a new plan, and evaluate eligibility for any of Pennsylvania’s Medicare cost-savings programs.

During this time of year, consumers will see and hear a lot of advertising. Some of the television commercials and mailings from Medicare Advantage plans may showcase special perks and benefits that may not be available in all areas. It’s important to read the plan documents carefully and make sure you understand any coverage rules that may affect your costs before choosing a plan. On PA MEDI’s newly updated webpage, PA MEDI – Medicare Counseling, beneficiaries can find helpful tips on choosing a plan and a useful list of Frequently Asked Questions on several Medicare topics. 

To help build awareness of PA MEDI as Pennsylvania’s trusted unbiased resource, the Department of Aging has launched a statewide campaign featuring television, radio and digital ads urging consumers to call the PA MEDI Helpline, their local AAA or visit the Department’s website to learn more.

“We know having access to good health care is essential for older adults. Navigating options can be confusing and overwhelming to find the best coverage for an individual’s needs. PA MEDI counselors within the Area Agencies on Aging are the trained and knowledgeable friendly faces available to assist older adults with the many facets that come with choosing the best health care plan,” said Secretary of Aging Jason Kavulich. “Many of the PA MEDI counselors are older adults themselves and have navigated their way through selecting a Medicare plan that’s right for them. We encourage all new or current Medicare beneficiaries to take advantage of the free independent counseling services available through PA MEDI.

PA MEDI provides free, confidential, objective, and easy-to-understand information about Medicare Advantage Plans, prescription drug plans, and Medicare Supplement plans, allowing Medicare beneficiaries to compare plans and determine what best meets their needs. This work is done with the help of approximately 250 dedicated PA MEDI volunteers housed in local AAAs across the Commonwealth.